Natural species and habitats protected by EU Directives

The "Natural species and habitats protected by EU Directives" fact sheet reports on the conservation status of natural species and habitats protected by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, reflecting the changes in the respective conservation status

Description: 

The assessment of the conservation status of natural species and habitats protected at the EU level derives from the provisions of the Birds and Habitats Directives (transposed into national law by the Decree-Law no. 140/99, as amended by the Decree-Law no. 49/2005 and the Decree-Law no. 156-A/2013). These indicators are based on the results of the National Report on the Application of the Habitats Directive and the National Report on the Application of the Birds Directive, submitted to the European Commission.

The information obtained for that purpose is based on scientific data, used in the preparation of reports with the aforementioned format for two different reporting periods, one regarding the application of the Habitats Directive (2001-2006 and 2007-2012) and another regarding the Birds Directive (2008-2012). Despite the fact that they don't cover all the species of flora and fauna found in Portugal, the results presented in these reports are considered to be a reasonable approximation to the general conservation status, particularly in what regards the vertebrate fauna (except for marine fishes) and the terrestrial vascular flora. These results are also considered to be representative of the pressures and threats faced by these species.

The National Report on the Application of the Habitats Directive (just like the one regarding the Birds Directive) follows a structure and methodology that have been pre-established by the European Commission and by the European Environment Agency, together with experts from the competent authorities of the Member States, and integrates information regarding the three terrestrial biogeographical regions covered by the Portuguese territory, namely Atlantic (ATL), Mediterranean (MED) and Macaronesian (MAC), plus two marine regions, Marine Atlantic (MATL) and Marine Macaronesian (MMAC). The following classes are considered with regard to conservation status: favourable, inadequate (unfavourable/inadequate), bad (unfavourable/bad). A class named "unknown" integrates the species and habitats whose conservation status cannot be assessed, mainly due to lack of information on some or all of the parameters that are being used. As part of the preparation of this Report for the period 2007-2012, there were overall assessments of the conservation status of 324 species (191 species of flora and 133 species of fauna - molluscs, arthropods, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals) and of 99 natural and semi-natural habitats.

Within the scope of the Birds Directive, there are no assessments of the "conservation status" of the species (a concept stipulated only in the Habitats Directive); instead, there are separate estimates of population size trends for nesting and wintering species, and of nesting species range (area that includes all the sites where the species is known to be found). Two periods were considered in those trend assessments: the short-term (last twelve years), assessing the recent developments, and the long-term (since ca. 1980). Five trend categories were used: stable, fluctuating, increasing, decreasing and unknown.

In the assessments of the bird fauna carried out for the preparation of the National Report on the Application of the Birds Directive for the period 2008-2012, involving a total of 257 species assessed in Mainland Portugal, it was not possible to estimate the size of the population of 13 species and the distribution of three species. With regard to the Azores, in a total of 34 species, we were unable to estimate the size of the population of seven species and the distribution of two species. As for Madeira, it was possible to obtain these two parameters for all the 42 species that regularly nest in that region.

This fact sheet is updated every six years and concerns mainland Portugal, the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores and marine regions under national jurisdiction (Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone).

Objectives and targets: 
  • Assess the success of the application of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Natura 2000 Network's contribution towards achieving the objectives of these Directives.
  • Maintain or restore the favourable conservation status of the natural species and habitats protected by the Birds and Habitats Directives.
Progress analysis:

The results obtained in the National Report on the Application of the Habitats Directive (2007-2012) indicate that, generally, the "inadequate" conservation status prevails over the "favourable" conservation status, both for species and for habitats, in all the biogeographical regions (except for the Marine Macaronesian habitats).

The following charts show, by conservations status class, the findings of the conservation status assessments carried out for the periods 2007-2012 and 2001-2006, allowing a "comparison" of the respective results between types of habitats and groups of species.

Last update: 
Monday, 5 June, 2017